European Commission and United States sign cooperation arrangement on preparedness and response to public health threats

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Following the statement by President Ursula von der Leyen and U.S. President Joe Biden marking the second Global COVID-19 Summit, the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have signed an arrangement to strengthen cooperation on preparedness and response to public health threats. This will enable the Commission and the U.S. to work together on a broad range of topics to jointly tackle health emergencies, contributing to establishing a strong global health architecture.

Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Today’s first transatlantic arrangement on cooperation in the area of health is an important step in our already close working relationship with the US to counter COVID-19. We share broad mutual interests in the control and prevention of infectious diseases globally. Today we put this cooperation on new footing, to jointly identify health threats, work together on procuring medical countermeasures and prepare for health threats together. As the pandemic has shown us, joining forces will enable us to better deal with future health crises and better protect citizens across Europe and globally.”

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said:“Strengthening our collaboration with the European Commission through this formal arrangement signifies the importance the U.S. places on working together toward our shared pandemic preparedness and response goals. In addition, this arrangement gives us an opportunity to jointly assist other countries, including those outside of the European Union, with building up their capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats.”

The transatlantic arrangement, signed on 19 May in Berlin, will be coordinated by the European Commission Health Emergency and Preparedness Response Authority (HERA) and the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety on the EU side and the Department of Health and Human Services on the U.S. side. As part of the arrangement, the European Commission and the U.S. will work together on epidemic and supply chain information, research and innovation, and production of medical countermeasures, including vaccines and therapeutics. By facilitating information, knowledge, and data sharing, the arrangement will reduce duplication and ensure strong synergies in our preparedness and response efforts. In particular, the European Commission and the U.S. will strengthen cooperation on:

  • Reviewing joint threat assessments with the goal of identifying at least one most relevant public health threat per year on which to collaborate on.
  • Sharing secured data for global surveillance for the early detection of emerging health threats. 
  • Supporting procurement activities, including the assessment of vaccine platforms and exchange of best practices on vaccine arrangements.
  • Coordinating support for the research and development of innovative medical countermeasures.
  • Supporting third countries on preparedness and response to public health threats.
  • Tackling mis- and disinformation on health threats by exchanging good practices and initiating joint actions.

Background

The present administrative arrangement is a deliverable of the U.S.-EU Agenda for Beating the Global Pandemic, Vaccinating the World, Saving Lives Now, and Building Back Better Global Health Security.  It is part of the joint actions announced in the 12 May statement reaffirming the Joint Agenda by President von der Leyen and President Biden on the occasion of the second global COVID-19 summit. It also complements the United States–European Commission Joint Statement on the launch of the joint COVID-19 Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce.

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